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The wisdom of bloggers?

This 2005 TED video of James Surowiecki (The Wisdom of Crowds) still packs a punch. James explores the idea that the cumulative wisdom of bloggers and the internet may be better than that of any one individual. I’ve spoken with a few cultural organisations recently who have indicated that in the main, the content about their organisation out there in the blogosphere is “lowest common denominator”/”ill informed”, etc. Surowiecki would argue that the average point made would be well made, which means that as cultural organisations we need to work harder at getting our ambassadors to talk more loudly in the groups, or heed what’s been said by listening and reacting.

Find out what people are saying about you by setting up Google Alerts and a Technorati search.

Yesterday I was talking with Scotland’s biggest Performing Arts companies about how social media should only be used in a manner that has integrity. This following a few examples where people had spammed Twitter streams with adverts. Social medias are all about conversations with trusted content providers – and conversations don’t/shouldn’t include broadcasted adverts. Or any blatent publicising. Sure, push out a URL to gather feedback and judge interest, but don’t spam!

Coincidentally, US classical music blogger Greg Sandow today complained:
“Don’t even think of trying this!
In a new and most unfortunate development, an otherwise reputable orchestra has tried to advertise a concert by posting a comment on my blog. And also on Amanda Ameer’s, and no doubt on other blogs, too. These comments were nothing but advertising copy. I deleted the one on this blog the moment I saw it, and sent a stern e-mail to the orchestra’s marketing director.

I hope it’s clear that this way of advertising is completely inappropriate. (And also that my outrage at this has nothing to do with the orchestra’s music.) For one thing, ArtsJournal sells ads on these blogs, and can hardly tolerate people trying to use them to advertise for free. But far beyond that, spam comments would disrupt the fine conversations we have on this blog. Nobody wants to wade through advertising to see the latest posts. I can’t quite imagine what this orchestra was thinking, but clearly they have no idea how blogs work (a milder way of saying that they don’t respect the integrity of what we do here).

So if anyone else, God forbid, is thinking of doing this — don’t. I don’t care how terrific your music might be. Your ads, if they showed up here as comments, would just be a new kind of spam. ”

What do you think?